Friday, February 27, 2009

Wild Outclassed in Calgary

Remember that obnoxious goal siren and god-awful red flame I wrote about in my last post? Yeah, got to see that 4 times tonite, as the Wild are dominated by the Calgary Flames tonite, 4-1. The Wild are absolutely terrible in the Saddledome. The lone Wild goal was a token goal from Marc-Andre Bergeron with only a couple minutes left in the 3rd. There’s not much to talk about in this one from a Wild fan standpoint. Hopefully my UMD Bulldogs will beat UMTC Gophers tonight, in a game that I know has ended but I will be watching on tape delay. Go Dogs!

Boogaard Has Got to Go
Tonite did provide further proof that there is no reason to have Derek Boogaard on this team. I continue to have no clue what value he provides. Late in the 3rd he was on the ice…why I can not fathom…and came in late and hit Flames F Brandon Prust high with an elbow. It made quite the sound into the boards, and Prust went to the ice. As Flames D Dion Phaneuf and Jim Vandermeer went after Boogaard. That prompted Wild play-by-play and analyst guys to babble about how Phaneuf and Vandermeer were cross checking and punching and slashing Boogaard, as if he didn’t deserve it. Seriously…WHY IS EVERYONE SO INFATUATED WITH DEREK BOOGAARD?!?!?! Drives me insane! He’s terrible!

(Hopefully I still have some Wild fans reading this blog after I made that statement…)

Fight to…Make the Playoffs
Starting play the Wild were in a 4-way tie for 7th place in the West. The other 3 teams in that tie are off tonite, so that will be the story tomorrow night as well.

Wild play game 2 of the NW Division leg of this road trip tomorrow night in Edmonton. We’re quickly approaching “biggest game of the season” time. The Oil is one of the teams in that 4-team tie for 7th, so it is a very big game. The Oil are 1-3-1 in their last 5. But they also have an obnoxious goal siren, so that doesn’t bode well for my favorite team.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One that Got Away

Kings @ Wild Tues Feb 24
The Wild left a point on the ice tonight v. LA Kings, losing 2-1 in a shootout. They certainly played well enough to win, but failed on a few opportunities to bury the puck.

Regulation was relatively uneventful. Antti Miettenen did score a shorthanded goal in the 1st after receiving a nifty pass from Mikko Koivu on a 2 on 1. That was definitely nice to see. But they gave up a powerplay goal in the 2nd…actually Kim Johnsson scored it for the Kings on one of those “here goalie, cover it” type plays. Buzz kill. There were periods in the 3rd where the Wild would carry the play but they could not get it by Kings G Jonathan Quick. Most notably, Andrew Brunette made a beauty move only to be stoned by Quick with about a minute left in the 3rd.

The Wild had a couple golden opportunities to win it in the OT. Dan Fritsche was oh-so-close to winning it in the OT. He broke in on a 2 on 1 and the LA D took away the pass so he fired a shot that hit the near-side post. Shortly after, the Wild hit another post and Pierre Marc Bouchard also had a point blank chance. No one was clutch, and clutch is everything in the playoff stretch.

Mikko Koivu hit a post in the shootout, and Niklas Backstrom gave up his first and second shootout goals and that was the story.

So most of the Wild forwards are grinders this year, but I thought Cal Clutterbuck, Dan Fritsche, James Sheppard, Craig Weller, and Stephane Veilleux were the most productive  of everyone in the 3rd. They took a lot of body, kept the puck in the offensive zone, and had a handful of opportunities. If someone could only finish…

Fight to…Make the Playoffs
The Wild move into a tie for the 8th spot in the Western Conference. The missed point was a missed opportunity to move into the 7th spot, but let’s concentrate on the positive. Wizzy would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Who’s Next
The Wild embark on the big 14 of 17 on the road bit of the schedule on Friday, starting the trip in Calgary. I hate watching games at Saddledome on TV. The picture is always grainy and washed out. Plus the whole arena turns red when the Flames score, adding that extra insult to injury. Hopefully this one won’t turn into a DVR FFWD game.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We’re Winnin’! We’re Winnin’!

Hey! It’s a posting sighting on Wild View from Section 216! I’ve been a bit MIA lately – crazy stuff going down at my day job and all-around other stuff going on. Let’s see, since my last post what has happened?

  • 4 wins, 3 losses, 1 OT loss
  • Ridiculous 3-0 blown lead v. Ottawa
  • Dominated by Detroit, then Domination of Detroit
  • In and out of the playoffs seemingly daily
  • Kurtis Foster completed a successful rehab stint in Houston
  • Coach Jacques knocked to the ice 2x, almost a 3rd
  • Beat writers and fans went from fired up to disgusted
  • Twins signed Joe Crede (yeah yeah, wrong sport, but can you believe it?)

So where in my last post I was encouraged and thought the Wild had perhaps gotten over the win 1 lose 1 hump, they went 4-3-1. They continue to hover on the playoff bubble, currently IN the playoffs 1 point ahead of Edmonton.

I stick by my preseason prediction that the Wild will make the playoffs in the 7th or 8th spot, and that they will be this year’s team that bucks the home-ice advantage and upsets a couple teams. It feels like a year that when no one expects the team to do anything and it takes alot of heat in town – that once in the playoffs something crazy happens. That’s the vibe deep in my gut.

But then again, in my last post I thought they had gotten over the mediocrity hump.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wild Win 2nd in a Row

I really wanted to put together a nice post after tonite’s 3-0 shutout Wild win, but I dinked around too long and now I’m tired. So, you get this.

The Wild scored 2 goals in the 1st period and put the clamps on for the rest of the game to shut out the Anaheim Mighty Ducks tonite. Yes, I know it’s just the Ducks now, but I like the cartoon team of yesteryear, so I’m sticking with Mighty Ducks. Wild goals came from February captain Andrew Brunette, real captain Mikko Koivu, and an empty netter from never been captain Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Backstrom was good, real good on a Ducks breakaway, and once again I am encouraged that the Wild are playing well enough defensively to stay in the playoff picture. The Wild have won 2 in a row and may just have turned that consistency corner to stop the win one lose one cycle. I guess we’ll see in Friday’s game v. Nashville.

Coach Jacques Speculation
During Minnesota hockey guru Lou Nanne’s most recent appearance on KFAN radio with Dan Barreiro Tuesday, he talked about Jacques Lemaire and his thoughts on whether or not he would be back to coach the Wild next season. Louie is fairly convinced this will be JL’s last year. You can listen here.

I don’t really want to think too much about this yet, but is it safe to assume that Kevin Constantine, who is a former NHL coach and the current coach in Houston, will be the next Wild coach? I’ve heard that he can be even more defensive-minded than Jacques…

Freeze on Season Ticket Prices
Today the Wild announced that they will not be raising prices for season tickets next season. They also announced that any playoff games this year will be the same price as last year’s playoff prices. Citing the economy, the pressers I read and heard during the game broadcast tonite all made it sound like they’re doing this great deed for the fans.

I call BS. The Wild know that if they raise prices next season they will lose even more ticket holders. I know a handful of people that have not renewed in the last couple years because prices have gone up too much and Doug Reisbrough does not put a corresponding level of talent on the ice. I have heard many rumblings of unhappy season ticket holders this season. The Wild had no choice but to freeze ticket prices. If it was really for the economy and to do something great for the fans, they would have dropped ticket prices for next year.

Then again, maybe I’m just bitter because I’ve been frozen out of the X myself so far this year.